By Peter O’Donnell & Enric Badia Romero (Titan Books)
This volume is the first to feature Enric Badia Romero as sole artistic hand, following the unexpected death of the legendary Jim Holdaway partway through ‘The Warlords of Phoenix’ and as a means of easing him into the job author O’Donnell was asked to quickly write a lighter tale to follow up the epic. ‘Willie the Djinn’ plays well to the new artist’s strengths, and although there are echoes of a previous O’Donnell and Holdaway Romeo Brown adventure, this tale of kidnapped dancing girls, oil sheikhs and military coups is a short, sweet romp, and a nice change of pace to the usual storm of murder, intrigue and revenge.
Those elements return in full in the eponymous ‘Green-Eyed Monster’ as the spoiled and obnoxious daughter of a British ambassador is kidnapped by South American rebels and Modesty and Willie must use all their skills to get her out of the terrorists’ clutches, escape the deadly jungles and resist the overwhelming temptation to kill her themselves.
‘Death of a Jester’ closes out the volume as our heroes stumble across a bizarre murder that leads to another job for British spymaster Sir Gerald Tarrant. A man in Jester’s garb is impaled by a knight’s lance and thrown to lions in a caper that revolves around Mediaeval Re-enactments, a band of bored and dangerous British ex-commandos and the impossible theft of the Navy’s latest super torpedo.
The infectious whimsy of the early 1970s was becoming increasingly present but under the strictly controlled conditions of the prolific and ingenious O’Donnell, Blaise and Garvin continued to carve out a well deserved reputation for excellence in these magnificent tales of modern adventure. Certified Gold.
© 2005 Associated Newspapers/Solo Syndication.